Page 2 of 2

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 02:00:45 PM
by kailhofer
Daniel Johnson wrote:First, a campfire without some magic could not cause a spontaneously combustion and consume the ghost (can a ghost be consumed by fire) and especially not a human. The worst that could happen is the girls suffering some burns before rolling out of the fire.

The ugly girl's wrath should have been foretold better and not be abrupt.

The ghost was the only likable character. I would have like to have known the background of why the ghost chose this wretch of a person to care about.

I suppose it was good I didn't know this story was yours, cause I probably would not have voted rather than give you low scores for it.


Daniel, this is the nicest 'I hate it.' feedback message I've ever received. Thanks. :)

As you could see from the other scores posted, people either really liked this or hated it. The scores were either 0-3 or 8-10, with very little in-between.

The Lauren character was meant as real person, not a ghost, who just happens to be a little mysterious, to throw off the reader into thinking she would be the spirit in this "ghost story," and thus make the evil from Sally at the end be more surprising. The fire was mentioned to be extra big and extra hot that night. It was said her 'high fashion getup burned hot', which I intended to mean the clothes she wore caught fire easily and caused serious harm as they burned. I ran out of word count to put more in there about her not being able to get out of the fire, but I thought about that point when writing it. I tried to put in enough about Sally being systematically picked on and verbally abused by the 'mean girls', but clearly that was not enough for all readers to buy into it when she snapped. Most good ghost stories have some kind of moral, so I tried to to put in the part about girls hearing the story having to watch out that they aren't being heard to be mean by mad killer on the loose, Sally. Missed the mark for you there. Obviously, I either made Lauren seem otherworldly too well, or just told it poorly.

Thank you for the feedback.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 02:09:51 PM
by kailhofer
KateStuart wrote:Unfortunately, I didn't save my final votes; I'm always tweaking everything until I'm hit the send button and can't tweak any more

I don't think everyone needs to feel compelled to post their scores. I think feedback as you gave it is better, personally, but if you ever want to get at your scores, the system saves it for you.

All you have to do is go back you your messages in the control panel, then click on the 'sent messages' button. Anything you send to someone else should still be in there.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 02:27:36 PM
by kailhofer
Here is my feedback on the stories:

A Brotherly Bond:
This was a nice horror story, and I liked it. However, it seemed like it was a normal standalone story adapted with a line or two at the beginning and end to make it qualify for the challenge, rather than one written entirely to be told around a campfire, which was the goal of the exercise. The characters, setting, etc., I thought were all great... it just didn't read like a campfire story to me. That however, was just my view of it. Your mileage may vary.

Just Be Nice Sometimes:
I felt this was a wonderful setting and marvelously original.

Saba's Baby:
This was a top-drawer story. Really good. My only complaint was that I simply cannot see anyone telling this around a campfire. Other than that, aces all around.

That Sensation Again:
My goodness, what wonderful world building. This is such of strength of yours, Sergio. Time and again, you come up with a truly unique idea. That being said, I felt you gave away the surprise before we were even halfway through the story, and that could have greatly added to it's impact if you would have sprung it on us in the end instead. Also, you stopped the narrative flow in a voodoo infodump. That took away from how well it could have done, in my opinion.

The Ghost of Camp Halloween Adventure:
I thought this came very close to something that could have been told around a fire in real life, which again, was the goal of the exercise. It was only the "snarkiness" of it, as Kate put it, that kept it from being so. Excellent originality, great dialog, and a very fitting setting. Glad you could join in the challenges, and I'm happy the experience was a positive one for you.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 04:52:58 PM
by kailhofer
Jim Statton wrote:Maintaining an activity the same way for ten years doesn't mean it can't become stagnant. Have you've given thought to all the newcomers who submit a story and don't come back? There's been a lot of those lately. Refreshing the activity wouldn't hurt and may hang on to new writers for more than a month.

‘One and done’ authors have appeared in the challenges since the beginning. I would love for all 67 of our authors to have stayed, but that is not practical or realistic. People try things. If they like it, they do more of them, if not, they move on. That two brand new entrants were in the competition this time shows there is no shortage of people wanting to try. Sometimes, it catches on in a person, and they stay for the long haul, like Sergio. He’s entered almost every challenge since he started, and that’s quite a few years ago now. It’s not bad or wrong if people don’t do it every time.

You seem to be using a hypothesis that the challenges are somehow broken and have to be fixed. I do not mean to make light of your concerns, but one of the advantages of ten years of stories is that I have mountains of data about the entries, and the data I have does not support this hypothesis.

You previously mentioned that there were only 3 entries last month. True enough. However, since this was the 10th time that 3 or less stories were submitted, it is somewhat less worrisome.

There have been 576 entries submitted since we started the challenges, which also means counting example stories, we are probably over 600 stories in the archive. We average 5.6 stories per challenge. Since I took the stories back over from Eddie, the average is up to 6.125. Statistically, there is no cause for alarm.

In my experience, the number of entries has a lot more to do with how much time the person thinking up the challenge has to spend on the idea and its presentation to the potential entrants. If I have a lot of time to think up a really good one and to promote it a lot on Facebook, there tends to be many entrants. If I’m pressed for time because real life got in the way, they usually don’t catch on so well. Not always, but this is how it seems to me. Not very statistical, but there you have it.

(I'd prefer to think that instead of the idea just wasn't very good.)

How about this.

"The purpose of this activity is to inspire writers to create entirely original stories. Characters, settings, products and all facets of the challenge entries must include original elements (without varying previous elements of fiction or anything preexisting in real life through a play on words)."

Does this plug the holes?

Well, no, not really. “Original” does not necessarily mean fictional. Abraham Lincoln could lead a coven circle in the oval office of the White House in a story, and that would be very original, but he was a real person. Plus, real places if they are famous, like Stonehenge, have always been allowed. What about sequels? This proposed version says nothing about that.

Wording of things is very critical, because I promise you authors will have very different takes on it than what you intended. I am not against changing the rule wording for something that works better, but it still has to work for all cases that have happened in the past.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 09:18:51 PM
by EddieSullivan
One month (Dec 2014) I only had 2 and had to write a story in addition to the example to make a contest out of it. Some ideas catch, some don't. Sometimes people have time, sometimes they don't. Also the catch 22 is once someone gets good enough they maybe spending their time and effort on money gigs or other projects. The sad reality is this is a proving ground and practice range so if you get good sometimes you get gone. For some it may just be enough to get the validation of writing one story and breaking the seal on their fear. Who knows? All in all the challenge is a pretty sturdy component of what we do here and has been for a long time. Pound for pound it is also easily the most passionately controversial thing on this site as well. :mrgreen:

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 27, 2016, 11:39:03 PM
by jpharrin
Thanks, Nate and Kate, for your comments and encouragement.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 31, 2016, 12:16:52 AM
by kailhofer
The stories from this month have been added to Flash Index II.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 31, 2016, 03:41:06 AM
by ente per ente
For Kailhofer:

Glad You liked my entry, much appreciated,eh!!! :D

Here's a spooky story for you on Halloween

PostPosted: October 31, 2016, 11:59:56 AM
by kailhofer
The following was based on a fairy tale by Joseph Jacobs, or possibly an earlier one, referenced by Shakespeare in "Much Ado About Nothing".

I don't know who did this particular arrangement, but what follows is a transcription of a vocal performance of the story I recorded off the radio way back in high school. Unfortunately, I didn't record the artist and the tape broke long ago. I've been unable to find it anywhere, but I loved it so much I wrote the words down. If anyone knows who recorded this, please let me know so I can give credit, and also buy a new copy of it.

It's not flash, but it's still my favorite "ghost" story.

Mr. Fox
Author unknown.

This story took place in a wild isolated area in the moors of Northern England. One day a stranger came to the village and said his name was Mr. Fox. He was a tall, good-looking man and was always dressed like a fine gentleman.

As was the custom of the day, gentlemen would go around the village in the afternoons and court the young women, always in the presence of a chaperon, usually a parent. There was one woman that really took his fancy. Mary was her name. Mary was an orphan child, she didn't have any parents but she had four brothers. So whenever Mr. Fox came to court, which was about once a month in the beginning, one of the brothers would always be there. They would sit and talk and have tea.

Mary really started to like Mr. Fox. He was a lot more interesting than the boys who usually came around. He had been to far away lands, he knew a lot of different people, and he knew strange languages. Well, before long he was coming there about once a week, usually on a Tuesday. After some time, Mr. Fox said, "You know Mary, I have been coming to visit you for some time and you have never been to visit me."

Mary said, "Mr. Fox I don't believe I know where you live. As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone around here knows where you live."

Mr. Fox said, "Well its no secret. I do keep myself to myself but I live in a house in the woods just north of town."

"Ah, Mr. Fox, that's what it is! People around here don't go into those woods. Why, I have never been any distance at all into them."

Mr. Fox said, "Well they are perfectly safe woods and I'll come by sometime and take you out there."

Well he never did get around to it and Mary was just as glad. She wasn't too sure about going into those woods. Finally it came to be a spring afternoon. It was on a Sunday, a beautiful day. The sun was shining and Mary was out picking wild flowers. She was kind of wandering some and daydreaming. She kept picking a few more, mostly blue bells, and they grow in clumps. She was wandering along not paying much attention to where she was. Without knowing it she had gotten into the woods north of town.

Now, she wasn't really lost. She knew she just had to head back south to get home but she had clearly gone a lot deeper then she had planned. She looked around and she noticed a little clearing off to the side. She thought she could perhaps go over there and get her bearings with the sun and maybe find a path heading back home, south. Well she walked and when she got to the end of the clearing she saw an old, English-style Tudor mansion at the far end with big beams set into it.

She thought, "That must be Mr. Fox's house. Well he did invite me for tea and I'm sure he would know the best way home. "

So she walked over toward the house. When she got there she went up the three big granite steps. There was a heavy knocker on the door. She clanged it a few times, and it rang hollow inside. No one answered.

She was kind of curious, so she came around the steps and went to the side of the house and peered in one of the windows. All she could see was a wooden hallway. She was really intrigued by now and she thought, "I'm sure Mr. Fox wouldn't mind if I just went in and looked around a bit."

She came back around and climbed the front steps. As she did something caught her eye She looked up and saw that there were some words carved in the lintel above the door. The words said "Be Bold, Be Bold!"

She thought, "That's an odd welcome."

She tried the door and found that it was open. She walked in and saw a hallway with doors leading off to the side. Right in front of her was a broad staircase leading up to a long gallery that was filled with windows, allowing the sun to pour in. It was the kind of staircase that made you want to walk up it pretending you were very rich and very grand. Well, that's exactly what Mary did. She walked up pretending she was very elegant and when she got to the top, the sun was just pouring in those windows and it was all so beautiful. She was in kind of a day dreaming mood.

She noticed another door at the far end of the hall and thought, "That must be Mr. Fox's bedroom."

She walked down toward it. As she got closer she saw that there were more words carved in the lintel above it, and these words said, "Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold!"

She tried the door and it was the bedroom. It was kind of dark inside. The curtains were drawn. It was a large room. Over to one side there was a brass bed and right next to it there was a mahogany washstand with a porcelain bowl and pitcher. What really caught her eye was another door. She thought, "That must be Mr. Fox's closet. Oh, he is such a fine dresser I would like to see some of his clothes."

So she walked over toward it. As she got close she saw that there were more words carved above it and these words said, "Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold, Lest That Your Heart's Blood Should Run Cold!"

She opened that door and it was pitch black inside. It took awhile for her eyes to adjust to that darkness. Once they did she saw what appeared to be three bath tubs. The first was filled with a dark liquid. She tasted it and it tasted like blood. The second was filled with what appeared to be human bones. And the third was filled with hair, long human hair and skin! She was terrified. She ran out of the closet and shut the door. She looked around to make sure that she had not touched anything or left any sign that she had been there.

She ran out of the bedroom. She closed the door and she was hurrying down the landing when she heard something! She looked out of the windows and she saw Mr. Fox striding across the clearing, and he was pulling a young woman by the hair. The girl was struggling and screaming. Mary knew she had to hide somewhere. She looked around and finally ran down the steps, went to the side of the staircase and crouched down below it. No sooner had she squatted down when Mr. Fox flung open the door. He came strutting across the hallway, still pulling that young woman by the hair.

He started up the staircase, and that girl was struggling and screaming. She reached out and grabbed hold of the banister. Mr. Fox, that Reynardine, pulled out his sword and hacked off her hand at the wrist. He jerked the sobbing girl right up the staircase, down the hallway and into his room.

That hand had fallen into Mary's lap! Stifling a scream, she wrapped it up in her apron and ran out of the house, scurrying home as fast as she could.

Well that was on a Sunday and on Tuesday Mr. Fox came to court. Mary made sure that all four of her brothers were there. They were sitting, having tea, and after a while Mr. Fox said, "You know, Mary, you aren't very talkative. Is anything the matter?"

Mary said, "Well Mr. Fox, I have been having a bad dream and I have not been getting much sleep."

Mr. Fox answered, "Well, you know I have traveled the world and I have read many dreams. Perhaps if you tell me yours I will be able to help you."

Mary said, "Well Mr. Fox I dreamed I was out picking wild flowers and I came to an old house. I dreamed I went up the steps of that house and I saw some words carved in the lintel above the door. The words said, 'Be Bold, Be Bold.'"

Mr. Fox sat stiffly in his chair and interrupted, "Surely it was not so'".

Mary continued, "I dreamed that I went into that house and up a staircase and came to another door with more words carved in it. These words said, 'Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold.'"

Now Mr. Fox's face turned pale and he said, "But surely it was not so and is not so."

"I dreamed that I went into that door and came still to another door with more words carved above it and these words said, 'Be Bold, Be Bold, But Not Too Bold, Lest That Your Heart's Blood Should Run Cold.'"

Mr. Fox said, "But surely it was not so, and it is not so, and never could be so."

Mary continued, "But that is the way it was in my dream, Mr. Fox. And I dreamed that I opened that third door and there were three vats inside. The first was filled with human blood, and the second was filled with human bones, and the third was filled with human hair and skin."

Mr. Fox said, "Well surely it was not so, and it is not so, and never could be so."

Mary said, "But that is the way it was in my dream, Mr. Fox. I dreamed that I came out of the closet, shut the door, went out of the bedroom, closed that door and I was hurrying down the landing when I saw you, Mr. Fox, come striding across the clearing outside. You were pulling a young woman by the hair. And I dreamed I saw you come through the front door and start up the staircase, still pulling that young woman. About half way up she was struggling and screaming so, when she reached out and grabbed onto the banister. You, Mr. Fox, drew out your sword and hacked off her hand at the wrist and pulled her on up the staircase and into your room!"

By this time Mr. Fox was on his feet and he said, "Well surely it was not so and it is not so, and God forbid that it should be so!"

Mary very quietly took that hand from under her apron. She put it on Mr. Fox's plate and looked him straight in the eye and said, "But Mr. Fox, it was so and it is so. And here is the very hand to prove it."

The four brothers took him out back and they killed him.

And I shan't tell you how, lest that your heart's blood should run cold.

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: October 31, 2016, 02:32:47 PM
by KateStuart
Oooh! I bet this was an amazing vocal performance!

Re: [POLL] Vote October 2016 Flash Challenge

PostPosted: November 01, 2016, 05:40:37 AM
by Megawatts
I always liked a story when somebody had a hand in it!